"Ashgabat - the city that keeps on changing" Top 5 Page for this destination Ashgabat by SallyM

Ashgabat Travel Guide: 135 reviews and 295 photos

Ashgabat is situated between the Karakum Desert and the Kopet Dag mountains. Its name means 'City of Love'.

It is a new, meticulously-planned city, with wide streets and parks, as well as bright lights and the occasional casino.

You might therefore expect it to be a cross between Paris, Las Vegas and Welwyn Garden City, but it's much stranger than that.

Ashgabat was almost totally destroyed by an earthquake in 1948. As a result, there are no old buildings. There are however many new ones.

There are three types of architecture in the city - low housing that was built after the earthquake; Soviet-style architecture from the later 20th century and post-indepence 21st century marble palaces built with petrodollars.

The speed with which buildings and monuments are springing up (or being relocated, as in the case of the Arch of Neutrality), plus the tendency to rename streets can make navigation a bit of a challenge. Also, shops and restaurants etc. don't always have very big signs. Even our guide admitted that he sometimes had problems finding a particular venue.

We bought a map from our hotel gift shop, but a lot of things weren't shown on it.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Fascinating place - like nowhere else I have ever been
  • Cons:Tricky to find your way around.
  • Last visit to Ashgabat: Dec 2012
  • Intro Updated Jan 3, 2013
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